Wed Oct 16 9:51am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Fournette ready for big Week 7
Well, the season just keeps chugging along. We are about at the halfway point, so it could be now or never for some fantasy teams. Just remember, you have time to get it going. All you need to do is get hot and make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you win first overall in your league. You can still win by getting that last spot in the playoffs. The best team all year doesn’t always win their league. So now is the time to start heating up. Make your trades and waiver wire pickups to put your team in the best position for a strong second half. Get it going now!
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . .
For me, I think the Rams are the most disappointing team in the NFL to date, especially from a fantasy perspective. This offense is really struggling. Just look at last week. The lack of a running game has really impacted the entire offense. Todd Gurley was really the cog in the offense that made things click. He just isn’t healthy and showing like he did the past few years. Plus, you have to figure the rest of the league is figuring things out with the Rams. Defensive coordinators had a whole offseason to adjust to what the Rams have been doing offensively. And Jared Goff seems to have regressed. He just doesn't look very good right now. Not good.
Patrick Mahomes is human. He is fourth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, which is a bit of a surprise. His receivers are dropping some passes, though, and his running game isn’t doing much. This isn’t great news for Mahomes. Fear not, though. Mahomes can still finish first overall in scoring. He has just hit a little bump in the road. We wouldn’t set off the alarm bells just yet. He still has just one interception all year and thrown for 300-plus yards all but a game.
If you can, I would sell high on Carlos Hyde. He is coming off a season best game and has scores three of four games. I’m just not convinced he keeps up this good play. He has just six receptions all season, which really holds back his fantasy value. And he has 60 or fewer rushing yards three of his last four games. This is still a pass-first team that has issues running the ball. Hyde is not going to keep playing at his current level, especially if you consider his play the last few seasons.
One guy I’m not selling high on is Chris Godwin. I have him in like 80 percent of my leagues and feeling great about that. He had double-digit receptions last week for the second time all year. He is the leading fantasy receiver right now. It is a little bit of a concern seeing Jameis Winston playing poorly but that doesn’t bother me too much. This team can’t run the ball, so I expect them to keep airing it out often despite Winston’s turnover issues. This means Godwin will continue to rack up the catches and yards. It is a lot of fun to watch Godwin have his breakout season. He is the real deal.
The Vikings are becoming a really scary team. Minnesota is playing at a high level right now both offensively and defensively. This is a pretty complete team. The rise of Kirk Cousins takes this offense to a different level and I don’t think it is a fluke. He has two of the best receivers in the game to work with, and Cousins has produced at a high level in recent years. I’m buying his recent play as well as the entire Vikings offense. And we cant forget about Dalvin Cook, having a breakout season at running back. He makes the entire offense go.
So Austin Hooper is first overall in fantasy tight end scoring. I don’t think that is a fluke. He is getting a ton of work and making some big plays along the way. He has 100-yard games two of his last three. He has at least six receptions all but a game in the Falcons pass-happy offense. I really think he can make a run at finishing first overall in tight end scoring. There are a lot of options in this passing game, which is a little bit of a concern, but the Falcons are throwing the ball so much that I’m not sure that matters. Kudos to you if you grabbed Hooper in this year’s draft. He is sure paying off for all those owners that waited on a tight end.
Last week was the first time all year Austin Ekeler was a dud for his fantasy owners. And I’m sorry to say this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens a few more times the rest of the way. The return of Melvin Gordon is really a concern. Gordon started last week and had 11 touches compared to eight for Ekeler. I don’t think I would dump Ekeler unless I get some value in return, but be ready for a few more up and down performances. He is going to be more of a flex play going forward. He’ll still get his weekly touches and receptions, but probably not the volume of past weeks. And I’m not sure Gordon reaches his full fantasy potential with Ekeler around and getting so much work in the passing game. Both these players are hurting the fantasy value of each other.
This didn’t used to be the case, but the trade deadline in the NFL is a lot more active these days. We already have seen several trades happen this week and the deadline isn’t until next week (Tuesday, Oct. 29). This is something to watch for fantasy owners. Trades can really impact fantasy value - good and bad - so keep up with all the trades from around the league when they happen. It could be an interesting week around the league.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 7 rankings.
News and Notes: The Patriots signed tight end Eric Tomlinson on Tuesday. He gives the team some more depth at the tight end position. . . . .The Browns traded offensive lineman Austin Corbett to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Tuesday. . . . .The Rams traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick on Tuesday. . . .The Jaguars traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, and a fourth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. . . . .The Titans announced Ryan Tannehill will start the Week 7 game. This sends Marcus Mariota to the bench.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette isn’t having a banner season but a solid one, especially compared to last year. He is ninth overall in fantasy running back scoring and sixth overall in his last three games. Fournette has three straight games with more than 100 total yards. A big plus for him this year is added work in the passing game, having at least four receptions all but a game. He should get a huge workload this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati allows the most fantasy points to running backs. The Bengals have been a disaster against the run, ranking dead last. They allow 185-rushing yards per game.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray is playing at a high level right now, taking advantage of some poor defenses in recent weeks. He has 27-plus fantasy points two straight games. He had his first three-touchdown game of his career last week. Murray is up to seventh overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He is getting it done on a weekly basis. Murray has his third straight poor opponent this week, facing the Giants. New York allows the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 31st against the pass, allowing 285-passing yards per game.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams. Woods scored his first touchdown of the season last week, which was a rushing score. But even despite a lack of scores, Woods is 26th overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He is capable of the big game in this offense as evident by his huge game in Week 4 against the Bucs. Some fantasy owners might be shying away from the Rams this week after their awful game last week, but a Week 7 matchup against the Falcons should get this offense healthy. The Falcons are 27th against the pass and have allowed 15-passing touchdowns this season.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. Freeman is starting to show some signs of life rushing the ball. He scored two touchdowns last week and has scores two straight games. He tied a season high in rushing yards last week with 88 yards. The biggest plus for Freeman this year has been his work in the passing game, having at least three receptions every game. This can save his fantasy numbers if he is shutdown rushing the ball. He should find more success this week against the Rams. Los Angeles is reeling right now and are 16th against the run. Freeman could find the end zone, facing a team that has allowed seven rushing touchdowns.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup wasn’t great last week, having four receptions for 48 yards on seven targets, but his numbers weren’t terrible. He has 100-yard games two of four and at least six receptions in all but a game. Amari Cooper is hurting, which could make Gallup the No. 1 receiver this week against the Eagles. This is a great matchup for Gallup, getting a team that has allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this year. Gallup can produce elite numbers in Week 7.
LeVeon Bell, RB, Jets. Bell has been pretty mediocre in recent weeks. He scored a touchdown last week, which saved his otherwise poor fantasy games. He had 15 touches for just 53 yards. He has 50 or fewer rushing yards three straight games and his season high in rushing is just 68 yards. Bell had 20-plus fantasy points each of his first two games but done little since. He gets a Patriots team this week that should focus their game plan on shutting down Bell. New England allows the second fewest fantasy points to running backs and just eight points per game.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford has been a big surprise this year, ranking 11th overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He has multiple touchdowns three of five games and at least 245-passing yards all but a game. He is healthy and producing once again. He did fail to score a touchdown last week, though, and has fewer than 15 fantasy points two of his past three games. He has another tough one this week against the Vikings. Minnesota allows the 10th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank seventh overall against the pass.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. Some might look at the matchup this week and think Sanders is a must start for fantasy teams, getting a Chiefs team that can struggled defensively. But it is sure hard to recommend playing Sanders despite the great matchup. He has two catches for nine yards his last two games. He has 10 or fewer yards three of his last four games. Sure, he could go off in this one, but it is hard to be confident playing him because of his recent play and production. We would just avoid him right now.
Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs. Williams returned to the lineup Week 5, but has done little since his return. He did score a touchdown last week but had just two touches in the game. He has 14 touches for 58 yards his last two games. He is yet to top 30-rushing yards in a game all year. Williams is another player that is hard to trust based on his production all season. He also has a tough matchup this week against the Broncos, a team that has allowed just 18 points per game. It is probably best to just avoid Williams right now.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins. McLaurin has been the best rookie receiver in football this year. He has been great almost every game. He has two 100-yard games and scores four of the five games he has played. He is almost moving into must-start territory. But a game this week against the 49ers is a little worrisome for McClaurin. The 49ers defense has been dominating in recent weeks, especially last week against the Rams. San Francisco totally shutdown the Rams passing attack. The 49ers are first overall against the pass and allow just 13 points per game. It could be a long day for the Redskins offense in this one, making McLaurin a bit of a risky play despite his big numbers this year.
Josh Allen, QB, Bills. Allen hasn’t been off the charts this year but consistent. He has multiple touchdowns three of five games and topped 240-passing yards three games. He has more than 20 fantasy points all but a game. And he is always capable of the big game, giving him added fantasy value. He is setup for one of those big games this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami allows the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are 26th overall against the pass.
Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos. Freeman has not been outstanding all year but pretty consistent, splitting work with starter Phillip Lindsay. He has double-digit carries all but a game. He also has at least four receptions four of six games, which helps his fantasy numbers. He has double-digit fantasy points three of six games. Freeman has value as a flex play, especially this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City was run over by a Texans rushing attack that hadn’t done much all year. The Chiefs are 30th overall against the run, allowing 162-rushing yards per game.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts. Brissett has multiple touchdowns all but a game this year. And he has scores every game this season. He has 20-plus fantasy points three of five games. He has done very well as the starter for the Colts and is producing for fantasy teams. He is a spot play, worth using in the right matchup. And this week against the Texans is a good time to use Brissett. The Texans are just 24th overall against the pass and allow the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Brissett is a good bye week or injury replacement for Week 7.
Cole Beasley, WR, Bills. Beasley is yet to score this year but is getting his catches as the slot receiver in this offense. He has three games with double-digit fantasy points and at least three catches every game this season. He also has 75 or more yards two of five games. He can be a help to fantasy teams, especially in a favorable matchup. And a game this week against the Dolphins is a good one for Beasley. The Dolphins are 26th against the pass and give up an whooping 36 points per game.
Darren Fells, TE, Texans. Fells had season highs in catches (six) and yards (69) last week. He has 12 or more fantasy points three of his last four games. The Texans are looking at the tight end more often in recent weeks and Fells is benefitting from the added looks. He is moving up the tight end rankings and worth using for fantasy teams. Fells has a matchup for more good things this week, playing the Colts. Indianapolis has struggled to stop the tight end this year, allowing the third most fantasy points to tight ends.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Rams/Falcons, Texans/Colts, Cardinals/Giants, Eagles/Cowboys.
Low Scoring Games: Chargers/Titans.
Bye Weeks: Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Bucs.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
After winning his second-straight game, head coach Brian Flores declared that Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would remain the starter for "the foreseeable future". Fitzpatrick didn't exactly shine in the Dolphins 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10, throwing for 169 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, salvaging 12 fantasy points on the day with an 11-yard touchdown run late in the second half. Save for the one touchdown drive, Miami's offense was mostly inept in victory, totaling just 229 yards on the day. Fitzpatrick needs to stay on the waiver wire in Week 11, as the Dolphins will face a Buffalo Bills team that's allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2019.
A popular streaming option headed into a Week 10 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki scored zero fantasy points in Miami's 16-12 victory on the road. The second-year tight end had three receptions for 28 yards, with a lost fumble on Miami's first drive negating what few points Gesicki would earn on the day. While his six targets were second on the team to the ten of Devante Parker, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted Gesicki mostly on shorter routes, throwing him only one ball down the field. With teammate Preston Williams out for the remainder of the season, Gesicki could occasionally be worth a look as a streaming candidate given his likely volume of targets. Just probably not when the Dolphins host the Bills in Week 11, as Buffalo is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2019.
New York Jets LB Brandon Copeland (hip) is dealing with a hip strain and is scheduled to meet with a specialist.
Free-agent S DeShawn Shead (Seahawks) worked out for the Oakland Raiders Monday, Nov. 11, according to a source.
Free-agent WR Deon Cain was signed to the Indianapolis Colts practice squad Monday, Nov. 11.
San Francisco 49ers TE Garrett Celek (back) was activated from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Nov. 11. The team also waived CB Dontae Johnson.
Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway's benching was only for the Week 10 game, and he will return to the lineup for Week 11, according to head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Fantasy Spin: Callaway likely will serve as the No. 3 receiver for the Browns this week against a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Fantasy players can consider benching Callaway if they have better options available.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Browns did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham was targeted a season high 12 times in the last game and should continue to be a focal point in the passing game. He will be facing a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense but can still be a No. 1 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Browns did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Landry is coming off one of his better games of the season in Week 10 and has been targeted at least 10 times in each of the last three games. He should be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues this week.
Former Chicago Bears RB Mike Davis was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Monday, Nov. 11, according to a source.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) fully participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. The Steelers did not hold a practice Monday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Conner is expected to play this week and should receive most of the carries in the running game. He can be considered at least a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers CB Corn Elder was signed off the Panthers' practice squad by the New York Giants on Monday, Nov. 11. OL Evan Brown was waived to make room for him on the roster.
New York Giants TE Rhett Ellison (concussion) was placed in the league's concussion protocol Monday, Nov. 11.
New York Giants CB Janoris Jenkins (concussion) and Nate Solder (concussion) were placed in the league's concussion protocol Monday, Nov. 11.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) is 'day-to-day' and will see if he can run on his injured ankle without experiencing swelling on Wednesday, Nov. 13, according to head coach Zac Taylor.
Fantasy Spin: It's almost pointless anymore to speculate if and/or when Green is going to return, although owners can probably remain optimistic considering the team has yet to place him on the Reserve/Injured list. If he can somehow play this week, he'll return to a very favorable matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Stay tuned for updates.
Pittsburgh Steelers LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (hips), LB Anthony Chickillo (ribs), FB Roosevelt Nix (knee), RB Benny Snell (knee) and WR Ryan Switzer (back) did not practice Monday, Nov. 11. OG Ramon Foster (concussion) was limited. RB James Conner (shoulder) was listed as a full participant. The Steelers did not hold a practice on Monday, so the injury report is an estimation.
Cleveland Browns DB Eric Murray (knee) and DE Olivier Vernon (knee) did not practice Monday, Nov. 11. TE Ricky Seals-Jones (knee) was limited. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin), OG Joel Bitonio (back), CB T.J. Carrie (back), DE Myles Garrett (knee) OT Kendall Lamm (knee), WR Jarvis Landry (hip), S Damarious Randall (chest) and OT Greg Robinson (shoulder) practiced in full. The Browns did not hold a practice on Monday, so the injury report is an estimation.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt will 'continue to get opportunities,' and head coach Freddie Kitchens expects Hunt's role to continue growing after playing well in Week 10.
Fantasy Spin: If the Browns have done one thing right this season, it might be that Nick Chubb has been a near-lock for 20 touches. That didn't change in Hunt's debut, even though the former Kansas City Chief finished with four carries and seven catches. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out going forward, but 10 touches per week will be enough for someone with Hunt's talent to be a serviceable flex option in most leagues.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (ribs) is expected to miss 'an extended amount of time' with a fractured rib, according to head coach Adam Gase.
Fantasy Spin: It's been one thing after another the season for Herndon, who celebrated ending a season-opening four-game suspension by hurting his hamstring. Owners who waited that out were rewarded with one catch for seven yards in Week 10 before this injury. It's probably safe to drop Herndon at this point in redraft leagues. Ryan Griffin has filled in capably at times for desperate fantasy owners and should be a serviceable streamer the rest of the way.